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Blog Milestone: WP Follower #4,000. Thank You!

 

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This travel/family blog just reached the mark of 4,000 WordPress followers…

Thank you for helping us keep on growing! Great way to begin 2014!

And a special thank you goes to ‘follower # 4,000′: MeralKathwari - hope you enjoy the journey with us!

 

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15 Comments

Posted by on January 5, 2014 in expat, foreign service

 

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2013 in review – according to the WP Stats Monkeys!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on December 31, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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This Blog won Top Tweets on ExpatsBlog! “Twenty reasons for adding Bolivia to your expat visiting list – and maybe sticking around for a while!”

Expat blogs in BoliviaExpat blogs in BoliviaThank you for all the comments, and shared tweets! Not only this blog is bringing home a sweet shopping voucher from Amazon, but the Silver Badge on the side – great way to begin this Christmas Week! :o

[Could not repeat the same feat as last year, when this blog was awarded Gold. Congratulations Jessica for representing so well this year the beautiful country of Bolivia with her 'Bohemian Diaries'! Keep on blogging!]

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Top List Contest Winners is pleased to announced to the winners of this year’s Expat Blog Awards! The standard was simply breathtaking, with such a diverse range of talented bloggers quite clearly pulling out all the stops to bring you the best they can! Without further ado, here are the Expat Blog Awards 2013 prize and award winners…

Our Top 3 Prize Winners

Overall Winner: Kathleen Siddell
Contest Entry: The Top 8 Ideas Worth Adopting From the Chinese

1st Runner Up: Becky the Great
Contest Entry: N is for Nomads

2nd runner Up: Emily Calle
Contest Entry: Top 50 Ways You Know You’re an Expat Living in Vienna

Our Fave Reader Comment: Mrs Partly Cloudy
Contest Entry: Welcome to Singapore:don’t look down
Blog Listing: Partly Cloudy

Top FB Likes: Paul Giles
Contest Entry: The Top Six Dangers You Face When Travelling to Colombia
Blog Listing: Colombia Travel Blog

Top Tweets: 3rd Culture Children
Contest Entry: Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List
Blog Listing: 3rd Culture Children

Random Winner: Christie Montague
Contest Entry: 6 Things You Should Know About the South of France if You Want to Blend in
Blog Listing: You can go your own way

Now, here is the Top Tweets Winner Post – with all its colorful images! Thanks again for all who read, commented, shared the link, and learned a bit about Bolivia – and maybe, the ones who are now considering adding the country to their Expat Visiting List! :o

unplugged4

From the ExpatsBlog team of editors: “After our hugely successful Expat Blog Awards 2012 last year, we thought we’d take a different spin on this year’s awards! Realising that last year’s scenario would be unfair to recently-joined newer bloggers, we’ve decided to combine the Expat Blog Awards 2013 with a big expat writing contest!
Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry That said, here’s my pitch… If this blogpost here makes you a bit curious… hop over to ExpatBlogs and check out a list especially prepared for this year’s writing contest: Suggestions on why expats should add Bolivia to their visiting list… they’ll be so in love that may want to stick around for a while! And remember: your great comment will help this blog go for Gold… two years in a row… why not? :o

Bolivia is a culturally diverse, geographically unique and strange in so many other ways that it’s hard to find another place/country quite like it. And this statement is coming from a ‘serial expat’, a traveling mother of third-culture children, a trailing spouse married into the US Foreign Service, and a Latina-born woman.

Hummm… need more examples of the colors and textures? Take a look:

The worldly recognized, the Andean rugs…

bolivian-rugs

Also, here one may enjoy the  typical “salteñas“, recipes borrowed long ago from neighboring Argentina

saltenas

Craving for more? Let’s go on a quick trip towards this unique place on earth!

What you may find in Bolivia? Take a look at these images, and don’t forget: go visit the Expat Blogs and share your wonderful comment about this travel blog! [Thank you!!!]

dressed in patterns

dressed in patterns

Madre Luna, from the Moon Valley

What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

Here are more images of this unique country… looking for a bit more explanation? Check the full text prepared for this year’s contest

IMG_5671

death road bikers...

Mountain biking trip

Mountain biking trip

DSC_0006

comadres

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_0407

Kal7

bolivian unusual

unplugged2

IMG_0805

IMG-20130816-00021

Aguayo

Aguayo

IMG_4668

Laguna Verde ['Green Lagoon']

DSC_8066

Singani in Tarija

IMG_5777

IMG_5763

Pre-Inca Ruins

Pre-Inca Ruins

The Table of Sacrifices

The Table of Sacrifices

Pre-Inca Ruins

IMG_5708

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

IMG_5663

IMG_5669

IMG_5623

IMG_5622

IMG_5658

IMG_5562

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

[Photo credit: Wikipedia.com]

IMG_4960

The famous “trufi”!

Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

muela del diablo

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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From the ExpatsBlog: What are people talking about our take on Bolivia?

This is the second part of the ‘contest post’ – the article published on ExpatsBlog about our ‘list on why expats should add Bolivia to their bucket list… and maybe sticking around for a while!’ is getting some feedback! See below what others are talking about the article, and don’t forget to hop on over to Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List!, leaving your comment about our take on Bolivia for expats.

Thank you! :o

Contest Comments »  

Reader 1 wrote 20 hours ago:
 
 I’m intrigued: I thought Lhasa was the highest capital in the world. I’ve been there, and the mountains and the light in your pictures, and the way the people look remind me of it a lot. I hope you have a wonderful two years.
 
 
Reader 2 wrote 18 hours ago:
 
 I love your writing style and your suggestions make me want to visit Bolivia now! Enjoy your tour
 
 
Reader 3 wrote 8 hours ago:
 
 Wow! What a delight to find out about your blog from this contest. Too bad your entry as posted here doesn’t show your wonderful photography. Best to you and your family as you travel across Bolivia and the world with you open loving hearts.
 
 
Reader 4 wrote 2 hours ago:
 
 ADOREI SEU BLOG!! Meu Deus…you made me cry, I MISS Bolivia like crazy, everything you posted is SO TRUE…I am glad that you guys are having a great time. Being in EUR its so different from Bolivia, 180 degree change for me…the culture, the people, the weather and the community- there are no comparison, I enjoyed my time there. I miss the warmth and kindness of the people, and that I was called “señorita” by everyone made me feel very special. Great photos, keep it up, GRACIAS! for sharing. Good luck to you! Beijos!
 

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

muela del diablo

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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Twenty reasons for adding Bolivia to your expat visiting list – and maybe sticking around for a while!

unplugged4

From the ExpatsBlog team of editors: “After our hugely successful Expat Blog Awards 2012 last year, we thought we’d take a different spin on this year’s awards! Realising that last year’s scenario would be unfair to recently-joined newer bloggers, we’ve decided to combine the Expat Blog Awards 2013 with a big expat writing contest!
                                           

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

Expat Blog Awards 2013 Contest Entry That said, here’s my pitch… If this blogpost here makes you a bit curious… hop over to ExpatBlogs and check out a list especially prepared for this year’s writing contest: Suggestions on why expats should add Bolivia to their visiting list… they’ll be so in love that may want to stick around for a while! And remember: your great comment will help this blog go for Gold… two years in a row… why not? :o

Bolivia is a culturally diverse, geographically unique and strange in so many other ways that it’s hard to find another place/country quite like it. And this statement is coming from a ‘serial expat’, a traveling mother of third-culture children, a trailing spouse married into the US Foreign Service, and a Latina-born woman.

Hummm… need more examples of the colors and textures? Take a look:

The worldly recognized, the Andean rugs…

bolivian-rugs

Also, here one may enjoy the  typical “salteñas“, recipes borrowed long ago from neighboring Argentina

saltenas

Craving for more? Let’s go on a quick trip towards this unique place on earth!

What you may find in Bolivia? Take a look at these images, and don’t forget: go visit the Expat Blogs and share your wonderful comment about this travel blog! [Thank you!!!]

dressed in patterns

dressed in patterns

Madre Luna, from the Moon Valley

What looks like a carpet of stalagmites canvassing a desert, Valle de la Luna, or “Valley of the Moon” is what is left of a mountain composed of clay and sandstone that has been battered by strong winds and time.

Here are more images of this unique country… looking for a bit more explanation? Check the full text prepared for this year’s contest [shameless, right? :o]

IMG_5671

death road bikers...

Mountain biking trip

Mountain biking trip

DSC_0006

comadres

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_0407

Kal7

bolivian unusual

unplugged2

IMG_0805

IMG-20130816-00021

Aguayo

Aguayo

IMG_4668

Laguna Verde ['Green Lagoon']

DSC_8066

Singani in Tarija

IMG_5777

IMG_5763

Pre-Inca Ruins

Pre-Inca Ruins

The Table of Sacrifices

The Table of Sacrifices

Pre-Inca Ruins

IMG_5708

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

IMG_5663

IMG_5669

IMG_5623

IMG_5622

IMG_5658

IMG_5562

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

[Photo credit: Wikipedia.com]

 

IMG_4960

The famous “trufi”!

 

Connect with the past, experience the present and look into the future… Bolivia offers it all! ♥

muela del diablo

Twenty Reasons for Adding Bolivia to Your Expat Visiting List !

 

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Always in good company! 3rdCultureChildren among Multicultural Bloggers!

Image

Check the directory out at: http://www.multiculturalbloggers.com/

Multicultural Bloggers

 

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Blogger or Brand?: What?! It’s got an ‘Online Identity’?

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Well, let me explain.

It’s Thursday morning. And since I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, happened to stumble upon a quote from one of the WordPress dailypost editors, Michelle W.: “Some of us have purely personal sites where we discuss the day-to-day, while others are trying to create an online presence around our blogs or use them as a springboard for other projects. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not just a blogger: you’re a brand“.

So… is this blog a brand??

Brand (n): a particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product

I guess so… and to confirm the assumption [suggested by the original writer], I continued reading the ‘inspirational post’ , and found:

“In terms of a blog, your brand is:

  • Your site’s personality.
  • Your name, tagline, color scheme, and design (including your logo).
  • A promise you make to readers about what they’ll find on your site.
  • The way you represent yourself and your blog in other spaces online.
  • The thing that differentiates your blog from the seventy zillion other blogs on the internet”.

Now, it begs the question: for this site/blog, is all that true? Does it behoove me/the writer/the ‘mind behind the curtain’ to create a distinct personality and consistent experience for this blog’s readers, reinforcing why 3rCultureChildren is worth reading?? Tough question, right? I’ll also see if i can answer that… through future posts… not today… just getting my creative juices flowing! :o

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

 Related articles

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2013 in post a day

 

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Farewell to Facebook: A great day of liberation!


Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

After a long debate [with myself, the little voices from my head, and my dear husband], we’ve decided to move on. I’m bringing this relationship with Facebook to a whole new level. A healthier one, I believe, and hopes are up! :o

Here is one of the pieces that came to my hands this week:

A new report released this week from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that Facebook remains the leading social network among American teenagers. It’s also the most reviled. While some teenagers interviewed by Pew claimed they “enjoyed using it,” the majority complained of “an increasing adult presence, high-pressure or otherwise negative social interactions (‘drama’), or feeling overwhelmed by others who share too much.” In other words, Facebook—as any adult with a profile knows—feels a lot like high school.

If Facebook is high school, other social media platforms can function as opportunities to escape from Facebook’s pervasive social structure—the online equivalent to cutting class and hanging out beneath the bleachers.

That definitely got me thinking! :o Not that any impulse or excuses were needed, to remove FB from my ‘real life’, but it worked as a great springboard for discussion/dbate within our family…

After pondering around the pros, cons, the time spent through people’s status updates, the conclusion came quick and simple: I’ll live without the artificial reality – don’t think it’s needed. It’ll be for a greater good.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

To the ones who care for us, for our family, keep following the blog and checking our family updates through here.

Or, even, go old-school and, once in a while, shoot us an email! [I'm sure you have it!]

Thank you, and I’m happy to move on… moving away from any artificial requirements to ‘ update my status’.

What motivated me to make up my mind? Here’s an extract detailing the so-called “Facebook Syndrome”:

Study has found that teenagers who are heavy users of social networking Websites tend to show signs of depression. The research, by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, studied teenagers in Edinburgh and found that those who are addicted to social networking such as Bebo and Facebook, show symptoms of depression, missed sleep, school and meals. In addition, there were cases where boys became more or less housebound simply because they did not want to leave the computer and thus needed mental health treatment.

Consequently, those who had self-harmed were discovered to have spent far more time on social networking Websites and tended to turn to these sites when in times of trouble when compared to their pairs. The study therefore recommends that mental health patients should be asked about their computer use when undergoing mental assessments.

Furthermore, it is important for adults and not just teenagers to be more conscious of the amount of time spent in front of a computer. Perhaps, one of the biggest indications of ‘Facebook’ syndrome occurs when one can no longer live without mobile phones or access to the Internet.

Wrap-up question: Can you do without the computer or Internet for a day without exhibiting any symptoms of withdrawal? :o

 
 
32 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in resources

 

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Why I write? Why I share? [My personal Space]

Today’s Daily Prompt is Personal Space.

When I stop to think, ‘why do I blog?’ or ‘why do we share stories about your family experiences, our travels, our difficulties and joys while raising kids?’, I come back to the same answers:

I blog because, to me, it’s a personal experience. I have no ambitions to use the blog as some sort of ‘marketing springboard’, although, since along the years, it has become quite a forum for other expatriates, traveling families, members of the foreign service community… a safe place where I can express my views and takes on life, share our questions, seeking for answers and/or advice from others facing similar situations…

I’m a parent, and with my husband, we’ve built an interesting lifestyle for ourselves and for our growing children. We are diverse. We share different backgrounds, cultures, knowledges and lessons learned. We share our learnings with our kids. We speak different languages in our household… and everyone has to try all the different types of food mom and dad were brought up with! :o

We share the joy, the sad moments, the adventurous decisions… We share the concerns and we look for solutions. Among ourselves, within the expat community. We look for input from other families in the foreign service. We try to enjoy life, snapping shots along the way, and sharing those beautiful and unique images here. Hopefully, this ‘live journal’ will one day be useful to our kids, our worldly citizens, growing up as products of hybrid cultures – and if that happens, I’ll be very proud! ♥

That’s why I blog. I makes me happy to share, and at the same time, it keeps me going. It helps me cope with difficult situations, it helps me assist other families, and it gives me the so much needed reassurance that, despite all challenges, we are not alone. And we’ll never be alone… that’s one of the beauties and positive sides of the cybersphere! :o

And you, why do write, blog, share your very own ‘personal space’ with other bloggers, keeping the ‘blogsphere’ active and spinning? :o Some others have done their part, and, as expected, given away their reasons [see below]… thank you all for sharing!http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/

 

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What’s up with 1,337?

 

ImageSo, just got a note today that this blog had achieved [the mark of] 1,337 followers… Strange number, right? Not round, not exact… far from cabalistic… But, hey, I’ll take it… For whatever reason it is, WordPress people decided it was worth to send out the note… :o Oh, well, I do appreciate the ‘achievement’, and welcome any positive thoughts towards this blog’s way!!! 

Thank you for reading [and following!] <3

 
15 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2013 in TRAVEL

 

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‘Hardship Homemaking’: contributing to the collaborative blog…

Post originally prepared as a contribution to the Hardship Homemaking collaborative blog, which is a back to basics blog for recipes, tricks, and tips to make life overseas at hardship posts easier”. The blog is a collaborative effort, with several authors, each one sharing unique experiences and life backgrounds, most of them, with real examples of life in the Foreign Service, its implications, challenges and strategies to overcome them.

“Handling Fruits and Vegetables: Sanitary Tips

Living at hardship posts offers more than challenges to all ‘household managers’ out there. If offers us the opportunity to learn – through advice from our peers, through our own research, through experience and why not say, through mistakes – ours or someone else’s – while facing similar situations. A common concern among families living at hardship posts is ‘how to offer the best, healthiest diet to my family?’- and that includes not only how to “optimize” your grocery shopping budget, but how to ensure those beautiful fruits and veggies will be safe for consumption, even before they’re tossed in the fridge, or beautifully displayed on a fruit bowl!…” [continue reading]

Curious to learn more tips on this and other topics? Hope over to the Hardship Homemaking collaborative blog! Thank you for the interest…

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 6, 2013 in expat, FAMILY, FOOD, foreign service

 

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23 months of blogging, with over 120,000 visits… Thank you!

120,000 hitsMarch 2011 marked my very first blogpost: shared impressions from the world’s largest street carnival. It was obviously in Brazil, the country that lives and breathes popular festivities, and our assignment with the foreign service from 2010 to 2012.

From that point on, blogposts began to come out quite often, increasing the number of subscribers, comments, Facebook Page fans [over 230], Twitter followers [over 350], and blog followers [now at 983]. Being picked to be Freshly Pressed a couple of times by the WordPress editors was definitely a good burst on the social part of it, coupled with the recent popular vote for best Expat Blog about our current home, Bolivia; and the mention of being one of the best parental/family blogs for families wondering about life with kids in the foreign service, according to Gaddling, the world’s top travel blog. Many thanks! 

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 8.40.18 AM

Today, another milestone was reached, having me surprised and pleased, finding out that our ‘family travel & photoblog‘ displayed over 120,000 visits.

Being passionate about your life experiences, sharing images and impressions, reporting what one sees happening around, somehow, pays back. At least, in the blogsphere… I’m inspired by the several bloggers who take part at the writing prompts, Weekly Photo Challenges, FrizzText and Jake Austria, probably being my very first inspiration (thank you both!); as well as, all the beautiful ideas shared by Ailsa, from ‘Where’s my Backpack?‘, with her travel theme challenges, and The Island Traveler, a parent, like many of us, who decided to share some beauty from their regular lives with the world…

Thank you all out there, parents, expats, bloggers, friends, for reading, commenting, following, and for offering a great deal of inspiration… blogging is fun! :o
What is your NEXT MILESTONE? Your Blog Milestone? Share here, if you care! Thanks!♥
 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2013 in expat, LANGUAGE

 

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2012 in review, according to the WordPress stats helper monkeys…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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A look back at 2012: why people came to this blog? At the end, we’re all stats junkies!

2012 will be over in a couple of days!

A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say 'hello' to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we're happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia...

Expat Blogs

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the 'retrospective': popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums... good discussions... Good therapy, some may say - and I'm glad to agree :o - when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments... work... expatriate and family daily life.... So, why visitors, readers, commenters, came to this blog? Most of them are expatriates, like our own 'nomad family', some belong to the Foreign Service community, and are well familiar with the challenges faced by the 5 of us. Others, are parents, travelers, adventurers, looking for images, photos, tips about travel options, or simply... curious eyes in search of a good reading, or a funny/intriguing/amazing image from our travels and/or not-so-fantastic daily life!

Now, I find myself with some time after the Christmas holidays, and with a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey! A big thank you to all!

For a ‘visual summary‘ of 2012, please hop over to this other post, especially crafted for WordPress‘s weekly photo challenge, the last one of 2012: A year through images!

For all the ‘fellow stats junkies’ out there [don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about! :o] here it is, this past year, through numbers… Who came in, looking for what, and the most popular posts… 

Top visitors {countries}: 

United States

Brazil

United Kingdom

Canada

India

Australia

Popular Posts/Articles

Highlights of 2011: Blogging one day at a time… Thank you for reading!

About us

UPDATED: “Moving is the 3rd most stressful life event”…

Why “3rd Culture Children”?

Scientific investigation during Carnaval 2012…

The Supermoon and Cinco de Mayo

2012 displayed an average of 246 blog comments/month, averaging 186 views a day.

Here are the ‘top commenters‘ [thank you for the very positive interaction!] :o

journeyman1977 - Lucid Gypsy - colonialist - eof737 - fgassette - travelgardeneat 

And which ones were the most commented posts? The ones with the strongest human interaction? [Again, my deepest gratitude for all the feedback received!]

Post/Page

Comments

about us

157

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

86

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

77

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

70

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

67

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

66

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

64

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

63

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects [as one composition]

60

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

59

See you all back in 2013! Let’s all have a great, peaceful and successful New Year! :o

Thanks for stopping by!

************

…so, the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “3rd Culture Children” (TCKs, more information here) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth. 

Travels in Brazil, posts related to outdoors activities, cultural events, such as attending the world’s largest open air theater for the Re-enacting of the Passion of Christ, as well as the ones showing scientific investigations and natural discoveries, seemed to be quite popular! 

‘Adventure‘ popular posts:

Visiting the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, swimming along with marine dolphins (Brazilian Atlantic coast, World Heritage Site, according to UNESCO)

Builiding a Hanging Garden using Recycled PET Bottles - teaching the importance of respecting the environment.

I’m grateful to Ruth Bailey, for the recent nomination – the 7 x 7 Link Award, where one’s supposed to highlight 7 recent important blogposts. Many thanks to Cyclingrandma, for offering the Good Apple award.

Nominated by a couple of bloggers in 2011 & 2012

Thank you, ClaudiaJohnson, for the nomination!

For a working mom, juggling with the work-life balance, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I’m honored. I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, the beauty and excitement of traveling, exploring nature (I’m a biologist!), languages (we’ve got Spanish, Portuguese and English in our household!), social/cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“ - imagine hauling this family of 5 around, raising multi-language TCKs, and keeping the passion for photography and story-telling?! 

 
 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2012 in expat, foreign service, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Getting ready to look back at 2012, remembering the most popular post in 2011!

2012 is almost over! A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say 'hello' to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we're happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia...

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the 'retrospective': popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums... good discussions... Good therapy, some may say - and I'm glad to agree :o - when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments... work... expatriate and family daily life....

Before I get a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey, I remembered last year, WordPress came up with a great initiative for all bloggers and readers: the year in blogging… That said, I thought it could be a great way to get ready for this year’s review. Post write-up is both in English and Portuguese, since we were living in Brazil, at that time… Maybe, if I’m gutsy enough, I could try to prepare this year’s review post in English and Spanish (Bolivia’s official language)?? :o

************************

Here’s this blog’s ‘first year’s review’ [2011], according to WP: [Anxious to know what's in store regarding 2012's review, as well as the plans for 2013!]

For some reason, according to the WP blogging annual report (shown/posted yesterday), today I’m sharing the post that got the highest number of unique views (over 2,500 views in one day, September 2011), surpassing the one that’d been Freshly Pressed (about children and folklore in Brazil).

I had no idea that “directing” the photo shoot of my husband jumping into the paradisiac Blue Lagoon in Jericoacoara (Ceara, Brazil, one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, according to the NY Times), could be so intriguing! :o

Anyway, thanks for checking it out, and here it is: The Blue Lagoon: Executing his best jumping, flying and diving moves!.

[Portugues] Depois que o jornal Washington Post, em 1994, incluiu Jericoacoara entre as dez praias mais bonitas do planeta, a pequena aldeia de pescadores, 300 km ao norte da capital do Ceará, mudou bastante. Jericoacoara não é simplesmente encantadora pelas suas dunas, praias e lagoas, mas também pelo seu vilarejo tranqüilo. O lugar era uma antiga vila de pescadores e até hoje conserva as ruas de terra, a arquitetura antiga e principalmente a paz de uma cidade que se esconde atrás de enormes dunas. O nome Jericoacoara deriva do tupi-guarany: yuruco (buraco) e cuara (tartaruga). Buraco das tartarugas, que seria uma referência a uma praia onde acontece a desova das tartarugas marinhas. Além de tudo isso, Jeri, como é chamada pelos moradores, oferece diversas opções para prática de esportes como windsurf, vela, trekking, cavalgada e outros.

 

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Early Christmas gift: …and the winner of the 2012 Expats Blog Awards Bolivia is…

Expat Blogs

… this blog! :o Gold it is!

blog award goldI’d like to thank you all for reading, suggesting, commenting, checking the blogposts out… Thanks for the positive feedback!

Thank you for showing support through the great comments you’ve written.

One fan says: 3rd Culture Children has a wonderfully diverse mix of cultural posts, photography, food, local and daily life, and just general musings on life. It is a blog that gives you a glimpse of life as an expat, not life as a tourist living temporarily somewhere other than “home.”

If there are any suggestions or questions, please feel free to give me a shout… or Tweet along, or check the Facebook page [see right sidebar]… but I do believe the easiest way will continue to be this one over here: leaving your usual thoughtful comments at this blog:o Thanks!

Now, as the tired involved mom I’m, back from the last day at the kids school, enjoying their end-of-the-year stage performance, the best way to celebrate this achievement is hiding from the kids and taking a nap, enjoying a glass of wine, bragging about it sharing the good news with my fellow bloggers!

Thank you very much for the ‘serial expats’ and friends in the Expat & Foreign Service community for taking the time to read the blog and leave comments… Much appreciated! ♥

Related articles

 
19 Comments

Posted by on December 19, 2012 in BOLIVIA, expat, foreign service

 

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Why are you looking for “41″?

Ok, let me explain this question. I’m a curious cat, by nature. That said, recently, I discovered that since I began blogging, people come searching for ’41′… Is that just a number? An age? [coincidently it's my current age, but I really don't think people would be interested in that! Also, be kind: one should never ask/try to guess a lady's age... especially when it's past 35! :o] Is there any cabalistic meaning for the number? Since I had no idea, I went out on searching about the intriguing number, in order to find some sort of explanation why, almost 200 people/visitors would be looking for that!

What did I found? Nothing conclusive… it’s an odd, prime number, with no real numerological, biblical or historical meaning… What a disappointment!

So, again, I come back to the question: “why would people be interested in this number?” After exhausting the ‘fancy searching tools/engines’, I resumed to the old-fashioned Wikipedia, the ‘mother of all lost cyber-information‘, for some non-scientific, unlikely reliable shed of light on this problem.

[By now many are probably thinking that I've got a lot of free time in my life, pretty much doing nothing, and with tons of 'unassigned' minutes to spare... definitely, not the case. I'm also a serious procrastinator, and, sometimes I allow my endless curiosity prevent me from carrying on with real chores - good explanation for escaping from my real duties, right? o]

Anyway, getting back to Wikipedia’s cyber explanation, get this:

“41 (forty-one) is the natural number following 40 and preceding 42, as well as two numbers preceding 43.”

Pretty fantastic, right? Maybe that’s why people have been searching throughout this blog: seeking the number that sits between 40 & 42, which, by the way, are much fancier, even numbers, with several numerological attributions! Got my answer at last, I suppose! :o Of course, if one [with time to spare] is heading to check the number on that site, will find references ranging from religion to TV, from big screen movies to politics, and obviously, some math & science references – but again, nothing that could make almost 200 people come blog-hopping over here… :o

But now, that I’ve got some attention to this ‘matter’, I had to, obviously, tag this post with “41″ – at the end, it was the original reason people begin coming over… Oh, the intricate ways the human mind works… one can only wonder! Well… Got you reading, right? 

Thanks for reading! :o

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 20, 2012 in humor

 

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Twenty months of blogging, and the 100,000 hits milestone is reached. Thank you!

Credit: Google Images

http://sassandbalderdash.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/one-lovely-blog1.jpg?w=227&h=270&h=270 March 2011 marked my very first blogpost: shared impressions from the world’s largest street carnival. It was obviously in Brazil, the country that lives and breathes popular festivities, and our assignment with the foreign service from 2010 to 2012. From that point on, blogposts began to come out quite often, increasing the number of subscribers, comments and blog followers. 

Today, a great milestone was reached, having me surprised and pleased, finding out that our ‘family travel & photoblog‘ displayed over 100,000 visits.

Being passionate about your life experiences, sharing images and impressions, reporting what one sees happening around, somehow, pays back. At least, in the blogsphere… I’m inspired by the several bloggers who take part at the WordPress writing prompts, Weekly Photo Challenges, FrizzText and Jake Austria, probably being my very first inspiration (thank you both!); as well as, all the beautiful ideas shared by Ailsa, from ‘Where’s my Backpack?‘, with her travel theme challenges, and The Island Traveler, a parent, like many of us, who decided to share some beauty from their regular lives with the world… It’s great to have wonderful people out there, to look up to! I’m very grateful for all the support, and couldn’t have found a better time to show my gratitude [Thanksgiving just around the corner!]

Thank you all out there, parents, expats, bloggers, friends, for reading, commenting, following, and for offering a great deal of inspiration… Now, moving on to the next 100K visits… blogging is fun! :o

Now, now is it, for you all? What is your NEXT MILESTONE? Your Blog Milestone? Share here, if you care! Thanks!♥

 
20 Comments

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in expat, foreign service, LANGUAGE

 

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{Weekly Writing Challenge} I wish I were…

I wish I were

nowhere else, but here. My home is where my traveling heart is.

I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, with a restless spirit and an endless thirst for life, for knowledge, for passion. I need passion in my days, and passion has always been given to me.

Gradually, and consistently…

I wish I were no wiser than I’m now, nor I wish I were more innocent than my current acts may appear.

Wisdom and innocence are two parallel states of mind. I’m grateful for the ongoing ability to recognize the difference.

I wish I were no younger than I’m today,                                                                                                     it wouldn’t be fair with my younger self – she ought to have experienced and learned from her own mistakes. Why try to be older, when your mind and soul seek learning through life?

I wish I were no older than my true wrinkles tell the world. Aging is a critical part of this wonderful process called ‘life’. And life is good.

Right now, I wish I were no more than what I represent to my family, to my loved ones, to the world. I’m comfortable in my own skin and not scared by my own thoughts. The ‘little voices in my head’ keep me going…

I wish I were

nothing else, but what I’m right now.

I’m grateful for my present, and I look forward to living the future. Savoring a day at a time. No more, no less…

**************

♥ Thanks for the inspiration! :o 

{Backstory} Last week, WordPress grammar guru, Daryl, talked about the oft-mysterious subjunctive mood in If Hairs Be Wires, Black Wires Grow on Her Head. Use of the subjunctive mood isn’t as common in English as it is in other languages. As Daryl mentioned in his post, the most common uses of the subjunctive mood in English are conditions, suppositions, wishes, demands, suggestions, and statements of necessity. At least once in our lives, we’ve all muttered, “I just wish I were…” or “If I were more like…”, knowingly or unknowingly invoking the subjunctive mood. In honor of Daryl’s post, we were asked to finish the following sentence for this week’s writing challenge: I wish I were.”

Let’s see how I did it! If you liked it (or not!), share your opinion here… Is writing something for everyone, and the one thing we need is inspiration? Thanks for reading!

Other “wishes”:

 
42 Comments

Posted by on October 30, 2012 in ART, foreign service

 

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Children in adult-oriented places: a collection of [random] thoughts!

I found this theme really interesting, and intriguing… almost poking on us, parents of our loving well-behaved little ones:

“Everyone loves kids, right? Right! Except when they don’t. This week, we’re particularly interested in what you think about kids in adult-oriented places. I think most of us can agree that it’s not a good idea to drag little Sally to a bar at 1AM, but what about a museum? A fancy restaurant?” [Michele M. from King of States].

at the museum

Well, as a parent of 3 little kids (oldest one just turned 7), moving every two years, due to family work requirements, having to adjust not only to a new country, as well as to new cultures, new languages, there’s yet the expectation that [shockingly!] my kids should also re-invent themselves and adjust/adapt to new social demands/requirements, showcasing the pristine behavior only found in movies about expat children attending boarding schools, spending their spear time learning an instrument and being part of book clubs!

Clearly, that doesn’t happen. It never did, and very likely, it’ll not happen in any future

This theme, discussing the pros and cons of having children in adult-oriented/adult-only social places got me thinking. And I began reading through what others had to say about it [I'm such a curious cat!].

I’m always searching for resources related to raising children in multi-cultural settings, I take part at parenting forums, I respond/comment on discussion lists, I blog about raising TCKs, and seek help for that…

I’m also the ‘household fairy’, you know, that one silent worker, that makes the breakfast show up in the morning, the lunch packs being ready before the school bus turns the corner… the ‘laundry fairy’, the intense PTA volunteer. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough time to ‘school’ my children on the ‘perfect social behavior‘ [whatever it is or means] – I’m still trying. And my children are also trying to learn, the best they can. They’ve been to restaurants, airports, family gatherings, embassy functions, social events, you name it!

So, answering the original question, should kids be allowed at adult-oriented places? PROBABLY NOT. And I’m stating that as a MOM, speaking my heart out from my life experience, as a mother, and a former teacher. NOTHING AGAINST children. Love them. Deeply. But in my very humble opinion, there are some adult-oriented places that little ones should no be taken to – and that includes some of our beloved evening pubs, bars and dining places – unless the latter is kid-friendly, otherwise, one should only take a [especially the very young ones] to a bar or pub, if looking for some unforeseen sickness, and a parental headache for the following days! :o

making pizza, at a ‘kid-friendly’ restaurant!

But, should we, as parents, carry out our frustrations to a public setting? Would it be enjoyable to ourselves, and to others?

Kids deserve people to respect them. And, do you believe they [the children] would be receiving their deserved share of social respect, if others [adults] would feel uncomfortable with their presence? Tough call.

My parents always had to travel for work. We moved a lot. We were also three children, the only difference was that, being the oldest one (9 years older than the youngest), I was responsible for their social behavior.

A ‘quasi-responsiblity‘, if I could put it like that. And I remember getting the ‘rolled eyes’ from others, the ‘evil looks’ at restaurants. There was no nanny at that time. Two working parents. Going out to restaurants was a rare treat – we definitely had to ‘earn our way’. Today, I’m the parent. I’m the one flying with screaming  kicking bored wonderful children. :o The ‘looks’ towards me are still there. I can feel them. And I’m sure my children also sense them coming…

For all that, even if it’s hard, logistically challenging, last-minute need, try to find yourself a baby sitter. That’s my little 2 cents of advice, and one may do whatever it wants with it, even completely discard it. Just my humble suggestion…. Adult-oriented places are for adults only [clever conclusion, right?!].

Unfortunately, for the ones who would like to spend quality time with their children, tagging them along wherever they go, I’m sure there’ll be other alternatives… they’re called ‘kid-friendly places’. Trust me, kids don’t enjoy adult-only scenarios. I’ve been there. I’ve tried both ways, and I’d stick to the second one. It’s safer for the adult parent, the adult company, and for the children.

Good luck to all of us raising kids – what a tough job, man! :o

 
 

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Creativity

Originally posted on Om Malik:

The biggest fallacy of writing on the web is the idea that there is unlimited space, and as such limitation of space is of no consequence. That is not quite true. Instead of space, the true limitation of the Internet is attention.

The prolonged throat clearing or using words that make you reach for a thesaurus don’t account for the paucity of attention that commands an economy of words and synthesis of thought, both presented with the crispness of a freshly laundered linen shirt.

A friend recently shared an article about Apple and Samsung’s creative process. The differences are stark, but for me what stood out about Apple was its ability to throw out a lot of work — actually scratch that, throw out great work — to aim for final simplicity. It is not about cramming all the features into the device, instead it is the right features.

Writing…

View original 54 more words

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 18, 2012 in TRAVEL

 

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How sweet! The Super Sweet Blogging Award!

I simply love cupcakes – even shared before a personal recipe for “Margarita Cupcakes“, with and without alcohol, for little ones… :o
Although I love baking them, especially for my kids’ birthday parties, this year, I’ll take a break – beginning this October, I’ll be BUYING ALL SWEET TREATS for my ones special’ special day… And why? Just because I’m realizing that, between the sweetness of all the planning, and the crude execution, assembling, decorating, there’s  pretty STRESSED PERSON – somebody who ends up changing from a sweet mom into a CRANKY, TIRED, bossy, baker…
And from this point on, I’ve decided: I want the ‘sweet, kind mommy’ back into my kitchen! My kids deserve better than a stormy mother running around the kitchen, before breakfast time! And their dad deserves a caring partner, instead of a screaming wife, telling him to get the decorations ready, while she’s finishing up with the toppings! :o
That said, I’m retiring from my “home-baking goods mommy business” – at least, until one of my girls, now aged 4 and almost 2, are able to jump in and help mom in the kitchen. Until then, dear ‘commercial bakers out there’, I’m all yours! :o
Coincidently, right after I had this ‘realization’, I found out my blog had been nominated for a SUPER SWEET BLOG AWARD! 
Maybe, it’s the sign I was looking for: I can still write, share experiences and images, discuss with other parents about the challenges of raising TCKs all over the map, and enjoy celebrating my kids special days… with ZERO STRESS! Loved it!
So, here is the award, its rules and next steps: Enjoy! ♥

Thanks to Catherine, from Mezzaphonically Speaking for being super sweet and nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!  I appreciate this special honor and opportunity!

Rules for this award include:
- Thank the super sweet blogger who made the nomination.
- Nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers:

They are bloggers talking about life, food, kids, adventures… All in all, a ‘treat’ to read! Go check them out – they’re some of the examples of readings that keep me going!

And answer five questions:

  • Cookie or cake? Cookie
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
  • What is your favorite sweet treat? Brazilian Dark Chocolate (the tiny ones with caramel!)
  • When do you crave sweet things the most? Night
  • If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Cupcake! 

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18 Comments

Posted by on September 11, 2012 in expat, FOOD, LANGUAGE

 

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Recently interviewed by BlogExpat!

3rd culture children

 Just got interviewed by BlogExpat:From Brazil to USA to Africa and back to Brazil: 3rd Culture Childrenby Erin [27 February, 2012 11:37]Raquel L. Miranda, Brazilian by birth, lived and studied in Argentina. Worked as an international researcher in the USA, before marrying and becoming a Foreign Service ‘hauling spouse’, mother of 3 third-culture children, all under the age of 7! Currently posted in Recife, Brazil – previous posts including Washington, DC and Maputo, Mozambique.

1. Why did you move abroad?
I was born abroad! [smiles!] My parents used to be public servers with the Brazilian government, so we traveled a lot. With a background in science and research, I was always on a plane, traveling to conferences or symposiums. Then, one day, 11 years ago, resting at the beach in Brazil, while taking a break from my PhD research and endless lecture preparation at the university, I met the one who would become my husband – he was a charming 26 year-old pre-grad student, interested in international politics, and (surprise!), who liked to travel around the world… Read more

 

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Highlights of 2011: Blogging one day at a time… Thank you for reading!

A big THANK YOU to all the visitors & readers! 2012 will be here before we know it! That’s also my perception regarding this family/travel photoblog – before I could really understand the true nature behind blogging, I was completely immersed into it – and totally in love with this incredible journey! I’m passionate about sharing our travel pictures, telling stories, discussing our challenges and the discoveries we’re making along the way – people and places.

The New Year is coming!

Nominated by a couple of bloggers.Thank you(s) to come! :o

I initially began this blog to share my impressions, observations and along-the-road experiences with our families and friends, and later, with other expats experiencing similar challenges/adventures. So, the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “3rd Culture Children” (TCKs, more information here) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth.

“The result of this transcontinental growth can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it. The developing child takes the culture of their parent’s passport country, or their first culture, to a foreign land. The child (and later on, the adult) adopts the qualities of the Second Culture into their preexisting First Culture, creating a unique cultural perspective known as the Third Culture”.

Blog of the Week, Dec 2011.

As an expat who is now raising 3 children, all aged 6 and under, the titled fit naturally!  I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, the beauty and excitement of traveling, exploring nature (I’m a biologist!), languages (we’ve got Spanish, Portuguese and English in our household!), social/cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“ – imagine hauling this family of 5 around, raising multi-language TCKs, and keeping the passion for photography and story-telling?!

This is our intense life, and we’re lucky to have a very supportive environment, with good friends, family and exciting new places to visit and discover!

Thank you, ClaudiaJohnson, for the nomination!

Thank you for the double nomination!

Getting positive feedback from other families in the Foreign Service. was definitely a breakthrough. After blogging for a little less than four months, saw one of my posts, about Brazilian Folklore and the integration of expatriate children, featured by WordPress. Features also included picks made by EcopressedPopPressed and The Social Moms network. For a working mom, juggling with the work-life balance, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I’m honored.

the greatest partner...

I’m ending this first ‘blogging year’ bordering 250 posts, with almost 130 followers and over 180 curious tweeters - and yet, blogging remains very fun, intriguing, exciting and challenging – thanks to the ongoing inspiration from PostaDay2011 & PostaWeek2011. Proof to that, is the passion brought by the Weekly Photo Challenges – what a ride!

    

Still need to thank all the fantastic readers & bloggers for all this year’s nominations! I promise it’ll get done – first thing in 2012!

Now, leaving 2011 with a smile… If I had to define my favorite part of blogging I’d say it’s the ability to convert ideas, impressions and images into stories, shared advice, resources to other parents/families/travelers. The excitement of spotting a routine event and transforming it into a surprisingly positive post. I’m a traveler, a researcher, an author, a mom. With an endless desire to learn, discover and share… Happy New Year to all of us, and a very successful 2012 – “keeping us posted“! :o

Related post: Daily Post WordPress

Another fellow blogger, coming to join our post in Brazil!

 

 
21 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2011 in expat, post a day

 

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The Social Moms, the “influential moms network”, featured 3rdCultureChildren as blog of the week

BLOG OF THE WEEK: 3RD CULTURE CHILDREN

December 4, 2011 By 

3rdculturechildren

“The SocialMoms Blog of the Week is 3rd Culture Children – where Raquel shares her love of travel and parenting.

Congratulations to 3rd Culture Children: the SocialMoms Blog of the Week! As someone who has done very little travel in my lifetime, I’m always fascinated by travel blogs, and this is no exception. I love that Raquel is able to talk about parenting while sharing the aspects of their travels to a variety of countries across the globe…” See below Nikki’s article/full interview:

SM: What was your inspiration for starting 3rd Culture Children?

We are a traveling family, with the US Foreign Service.  I initially began the blog to share my impressions, observations and along-the-road experiences with our families and friends, and later other expats experiencing similar challenges/adventures.  So the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal.  I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers.  The name for the blog came from the term itself: “Third Culture Children” (as you may find more information from one of its pages) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth. “The result of this transcontinental growth can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it. The developing child takes the culture of their parent’s passport country, or their first culture, to a foreign land. The result is that the child (and later on, the adult) adopts the qualities of the Second Culture into their preexisting First Culture, creating a unique cultural perspective known as the Third Culture”. As an expat who is now raising three children, all aged 6 and under, the titled seemed a natural fit!  I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, not only the beauty and excitement of traveling, but also resources regarding languages, social and cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“.

SM: What has most surprised you about running the site?

The first thing that surprised me was the positive feedback I began receiving from other families in the Foreign Service. After being blogging for a little less than four months, I saw one of my posts, about Brazilian Folklore and the integration of expatriate children, featured by WordPress. Features also included picks made by Ecopressed and PopPressed. As a working mom of 3, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I was very honored with the outcome.

SM: What are you most passionate about?

Sharing our travel pictures, telling stories, discussing our challenges and the discoveries we’re making along the way – people and places.

SM: What is the most popular section of your site?

The bilingual posts have become quite popular: posts with impressions of our visits to Brazilian historical and tourist sites – in English and Portuguese; and the Weekly Photo Challenge posts, which is an exciting way to improve my skills as an “amateur” photographer.  My husband has contributed photos as well  - another passionate non-professional photographer.

SM: What is your favorite part of blogging?

The ability to convert ideas, impressions and images into stories, shared advice, resources to other parents/families/travelers. The excitement of spotting a routine event and transforming it into a surprisingly positive post. I’m a traveler, a researcher, an author, a mom. With an endless desire to learn, discover and share…

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 4, 2011 in expat, TCKs, TRAVEL

 

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